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Students Abroad: Marisa Jones, MSSP’12 in Cuba

Illustration of woman on ladder looking at family on the ground

Authored by: Lisa Dugan

Student Life


For Marisa Jones, MSP’12, the opportunity to study in Cuba provided a lesson in cultural humility. “My family is from Cuba and I was brought up with a singular narrative around the revolution,” she explained. “But when I was in the country, I spoke with many people who had a very different experience. Grappling with that cognitive dissonance required a great deal of self reflection.”

Jones, who recently completed a six-month White House Internship and runs a local-level health policy campaign in the Washington DC area, said her visit to Cuba deeply affected her thinking about public policy.

“Seeing the widespread negative effects of the embargo, which Cuban’s call ‘bloqueo,’ was eyeopening,” she said. “When policies are implemented to prove a point to another country’s leadership, we must consider the effect those policies will have on everyday citizens. It’s also important to recognize that what may have worked many years ago might not still work today.”